Gussert, Trojans pummel Broncos


For The Daily News

HARRIS – The Bark River-Harris Broncos ran with Forest Park for about four minutes Friday night before getting crushed by the Trojans’ response.

Holding a 13-11 lead, Forest Park (2-0, 2-0 Skyline) embarked on a monster 32-0 run that seemed to last forever, en route to a 70-38 Skyline conference girls basketball victory.

“We made some simple mistakes against their press, and we let some things snowball a bit, where we couldn’t buy a bucket. We weren’t getting great looks either and we rushed some things. Forcing it might be a good way of saying it,” said Broncos head coach Joel Schultz. “Pretty soon we were down by 30.”

Trojans senior star Lexi Gussert was as good as ever against the rival Broncos, scoring 32 points. Though official stats were not available, Gussert likely had a triple-double, easily eclipsing 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

“They’re very well-coached and we know they’re going to be good each year,” Gussert said of the Broncos. “They’re kind of our rivals so we came up and played hard. Our first game we were so nervous. I think tonight we showed that we’re getting over those nerves and getting more in shape. Overall, we just played great.”

The Broncos couldn’t get much going offensively or defensively. There were plenty of turnovers, air balls, missed assignments that led to a scoring drought that lasted over 10 minutes spanning the first and second quarters. Mackenzie Lund sunk a bucket with just over three minutes remaining in the first quarter. The Broncos’ next field goal didn’t come until Lund hit a layup at the second quarter buzzer.

“We have to figure out who is going to step up and get the hard buckets,” Schultz said. “We only had eight players tonight, having lost two. That’s not going to be a real good thing for us. We played a little scared and we lacked that person to go to when we’re not comfortable, but this is the first time all these kids have been where they’re the ones expected to do some things.”

Forest Park head coach Jeff Syrjanen said he fully expects a better game from the Broncos the next time the two teams meet.

“I wasn’t expecting that,” he said of the 32-0 run his team had. “Joel always has an excellent competitive team here and they’re going to be good. We’re experienced, they’re young; that’s the difference. This was their first game and they’re going to get better. I’m not expecting them to have this kind of game with them over at our house because I know he’ll have them more prepared.”

Gussert seemingly scored at will, as is often the case, but more impressively she found her teammates wherever they were on the floor. Ten Trojans entered the scoring column Friday night.

“That’s our secret,” Syrjanen said. “We have the No. 1 scorer, but we need people to help Lexi and tonight they really came to play. We did the same thing last year, scoring 85 points with a lot of people scoring. We have people who can score, they just need to look to score more.

“I think we’re a difficult matchup because I don’t know that anybody can cover Lexi, and if you try to double up on her she will always find the open player. I’m really fortunate as a coach to have that situation on this team.”

Schultz said he knew what the Trojans were going to throw at his team, he just wasn’t happy with how the Broncos handled it.

“We didn’t play as good defense as I would have liked. We missed assignments. Their defense gave us more trouble than I anticipated. It wasn’t a surprise; it surprised me that we didn’t handle it much better.

“Basically, their strategy is to go stand where you can make a bucket and Lexi will throw it to you. They’re not running complicated sets, they just have a phenomenal ball player who finds people.”

For Gussert, you get the feeling that she’d be just as satisfied scoring 10 points, if her team played as well defensively as they did Friday night.

“The most important thing we’ve been working on, is defense,” she said. “We know we can score, but if we can’t defend well, then every game is going to be really close.”

The Broncos were led by Jordyn Hardy’s eight points.

Forest Park won the jayvee game 39-32.

Bark River-Harris (0-1, 0-1 Skyline) travels to Gwinn on Tuesday.

Forest Park 26 19 9 16 – 70

BR-Harris 11 3 9 15 – 38

Forest Park – Stankewicz 8, Bawyn 2, Issacson 2, Hendrickson 6, Campbell 9, Robarge 2, Gussert 32, Roose 2, S. Nylund 4, Bradley 2; FT: 10-17; F: 11; Fouled out: None; 3-point field goals: Gussert 3, Hendrickson 2.

Bark River-Harris – Starnes 7, Madalinski 2, Schultz 4, Lindquist 6, Hardy 8, Frazer 5, Lund 6; FT: 4-6; F: 15; Fouled out: None; 3-point field goals: Frazer, Starnes.